Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words

From: James Michael Rogers (
Date: 23 Nov 2009

  • Next message: Allan Guthrie: "Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words"

    Padding is bullshit, I agree. But I think it is fair to look at the piece at the end of the first draft and see if there is something you haven't fleshed out sufficiently.

    But, in terms of the bloated novels of today, it is worth noting that The Great Gatsby would probably have been too short to get published.


      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 19:29
      Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words


      thank you, Charles. I'll just write the best book that I can and then see what the word count turns out to be. if I'm short at that time, should I consider padding or take my chances? will a shorter manuscript preclude me from even getting read?

      John Lau

      "You may have the watches, but we have the time." - Afghan proverb

      -----Original Message-----
      From: hardcasecrime <>
      Sent: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 4:29 am
      Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words

      While it's true that you're conventionally told to assume 250 words per
      double-spaced manuscript page (which would make a 300-page manuscript
      75,000 words), it is not true that publishers just count pages. They're
      as digital as anyone else these days and do pay attention to what it
      says at the bottom of the Microsoft Word window (and if they receive a
      pdf, they choose the "save a copy as text" option and then open it in
      Word to get the word count). And I'm sorry to say that submitting a
      novel of 52,000 words IS likely to be an obstacle for many (most?)
      publishers, the vast majority of whom seem to be looking for 80,000+.

      Not Hard Case Crime, of course; we're perfectly happy publishing
      52,000-word books. Ed McBain's THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE was only
      45,000, I think, and Max Allan Collins' QUARRY novels are all in that
      neighborhood as well. And someone brought up Cain -- I think POSTMAN
      only runs about 30,000 words, more a novella than a novel.

      But we're unusual. Many contemporary publishers simply won't consider a
      52,000-word manuscript, even though as a reader I very much wish they


      --- In, BaxDeal@... wrote:
    > I'm going by what Microsoft Word tells me on the bottom of the
      document, rather than page count. I'm around 200 pages, double spaced
      right now and know I'm about 2/3 done with the story. I've been pacing
      it to hit 300. Dave Zeltzerman tells me they go by page count and
      estimate 25,000 words per 100 pages. I'll submit in PDF, so I'm thinking
      now that it's a non-issue
    > John Lau
    > 52,000 is short by contemporary standards - it's the length of a short
    > Gold Medal or a long Ken Bruen - about 150 conventional pages - these
    > days I suppose a short length says 'cult' rather than 'mainstream' -
    > whether it's an issue or not depends rather on what you're writing, if
    > that helps at all.
    > BaxDeal@... wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > > so I'm 2/3 thru my first novel, was speaking with Debby Atkinson,
    > > who's published by Poison Pen. I said I was shooting for 300 pages,
    > > she said it's not page count, but the amount of words. I look at my
    > > material and I think I'd probably come in around 52,000
    > >
    > > is this an issue?
    > >
    > > John Lau


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